Saturday, February 20, 2010

Getting closer

I ended my second round of progestrone pills on Monday. I've noticed my mood being less than pleseant the last two days. I've also had some spotting, but it's been nothing by brownish in color. According to our NFP training brown in color still means a lack of progestrone. Although, with my body it's hard to know what anything means. I'm hoping this spotting will lead to an actualy menstration. This means I would be heading in the right direction. If I don't mensturate by Tuesday I will need to go in for more testing and an ultra sound.

I think the most frustrating thing right now is how much success the doctor has had with other women starting progestrone. She had told me a story of one girl who took it once and had on track cycles from then on. My body apparently is not going to work like that. It makes me nervous that there is another underlining problem that hasn't be caught. I guess as a woman it is just in my nature to worry about things. I really hope my body can figure this whole cycle thing out soon!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

2nd round of Progestrone

I'm on day 4 of my 6 days of progestrone and still see no changes. I'm starting to read the book "A Patient's guide to PCOS" I don't know how much it will help, but I figure the more knowledge I have the better. I hope that at some point this blog and my knowledge will be able to help other women with this problem and find a solution instead of just a band aid.


I took the progestrone for the prescribed amount of time and have seen no changes in anything. This makes me a little nervous. Is it working?

I noticed some change in mucus the day after I stopped the progestrone, but no period. After a week of no period I called Dr. A. and she told me to go on progestrone for another 6 days. It is possible that because it has been so long it may take a bit more of a jolt to make a period occur. She said if the second dose doesn't do it I will need to go in for an ultra sound to see if there is something else that may be causing issues.

It's very frustrating to get your hopes up in something and then not have it work. I'm hoping this second dose does what it is supposed to do. My husband is so supportive. I wish I had a normal body...arg!

Blood Work

My blood work came back and most of it was very good. My insulin levels were at a 5 when normal is between 3 and 19. I was shocked by that as most PCOS people have high insulin levels. My progestrone level was .5, which is quite low. She wrote me a prescription for progestrone. I was to take it on days 18-24 of my cycle. Since I wasn't currently having a cycle I just needed to start. She said it was likely that I would have some spotting while on it since I hadn't had a period in so long. I'm hoping that this is the answer.

Meeting with Dr. A.

I talked with Dr. A. about my lack of ovulation and menses. After checking things over she decided to get some blood work on me. She predicted that my progestrone levels were very low and taking some natural progestrone may help ovulation and creating a period. She promised me this is different than birth control in that it was a natural supplement that works with the progestrone your body is all ready making. It may cause slight depression, but nothing compared to what birth control would do.

I made an appt. to get my blood work done and see what happens.

Continuing NFP

As I continued to chart my progress through NFP I got increasingly disappointed. It confirmed everything I had thought. I was not ovulating. Even thiough facing facts is sometimes hard I can't tell you how much better I felt after getting off birth control. I was happier, I wasn't as depressed, and I started just feeling normal again. Dr. A. put me on Metformin extended release, 500 mg, which made a huge difference in side effects. I felt so much better, but I still had to get to the bottom of what was causing my PCOS. After 3 months of no period, no ovulation, and many infertile days my Jana sent me back to Dr. A for another consultation to try out some natural treatment options.

First meeting

With NFP you are assigned a Nurse Practitioner to teach you all the ins and outs of the method and charting. You meet with her 8 times over the course of the year so she can view your progress with the method.

Our practitioner was Jana. She is the most experienced in the area. Our first meeting was simply to see how we were doing with charting after our initial introduction. I had one fertile day and the rest are what you call dry days, or days of infertility. In the back of the book the give several examples of charts. By charting they can determine the exact issue that you are having within your cycle. They use samples of what some of these issues look like. My chart was beginning to look like the chart for infertility, but I didn't want to come to any conclusions yet, it was only the first meeting. It was time to wait it out and keep charting.

Beginning NFP

I stopped birth control after my appointment with Dr. A. My husband and I signed up for an introductory course to Natural Family planning held at one of the Catholic churches in town. I should note, there are two types of natural family planning an older model called Sympto-thermal and the newer method which is the Creighton Model. The Creigton Model has been known to be the best for woman with POCS. These are the basics:

Natural Family Planning, Creighton Model can be used to avoid or achieve a pregnancy. You use a chart together with your husband to determine your days of fertility. The woman checks for mucus before and after urination and a bowel movement. I know this sounds gross and it was more than my husband could take for awhile, but sometimes the alternative isn't always the most classy, but it's worth a try. The woman looks for change, consistency, and color in the mucus. You look at the mucus on the toilet paper and then finger test it. The Creighton model has several different categories of mucus. There are certain types that are considered fertile while others are considered infertile. You check every time you go to the bathroom and at the end of the day chart the most fertile sign. With this model you do need to practice abstinence for periods of time throughout the month if you are choosing to not get pregnant.

The thing that made me want to use this method was how natural it was. It is not putting a band aid on my pcos. This method tracks every day and tells you whether you are fertile or not fertile. There are no pills that are shutting down my body's ovaries and making me bleed. It might take awhile, but in the end I believe it will be worth the time.

Finding NFP

I was not raised Catholic, but my husband is catholic. Therefore I went through the Catholic marriage prep. At the marriage prep weekend they introduced us to Natural Family planning. This is a system in which you daily track your fertility by checking for mucus. When I heard this presentation I was very upset. Here these peopel were telling me how I am making a poor decision by taking birth control pills, but I had no other option. This is what every doctor had told me I was supposed to be on and this is what I have to do. Believe me, I'd love to be normal and be able to do this, but I can't it is impossible. I was almost in tears by the end of that presentation and I just wanted to leave.

I continued taking birth control and my sex drive plumetted. As you can guess, for a newly married couple this was devastating for my husband. He thought I was avoiding him. I never wanted to make him feel this way, but between the depression and lack of sex drive there was no hope for our sex life.

I finally confided in a friend of mine about my issues with PCOS. She brought up Natural Family planning (NFP). She told me that it is an amazing system that can be used for anyone and can actually help those women with odd cycles get back on track. She also told me about a Dr. who specialized in this method and that I should go to her.
I was skeptical about this, but I thought it was worth a try as I was not happy with myself as a person and wife.

In October of 2009 I went to Dr. A. and we talked about my battles with PCOS. She said there was absolutlely something we could do and it wasn't birth control. I honestly left that office in disbelief that there was an alternative to birth control, but at the same time super excited that there was something else that we could do.

My history with PCOS

When I was at the age that most women menstrate (13-14) I never got my period. At this age you look at a lack of menstration as a blessing. I didn't worry too much about it, but I did feel odd that I wasn't getting my period with the rest of the girls in my class. I didn't see my first period until age 17.

From the age of 17 I very rarely had a period. I would get it about 2-3 times a year. At the age of 20 I finally went to see an OBGYN to see if they knew why I wasn't getting my period regularly. Without doing any blood test, ultra sound, or any other testing this OBGYN said I had PCOS. I had never heard of this before, but she gave me a pamphlet, prescribed some birth control pills and sent me on my way.

As I read through the pamphlet I read many things that said, "will have trouble getting pregnant," "Leading cause of infertility" and a list of nearly every symptom I had: irregular bleeding, acne, and overweight. I was confused, frustrated, and scared that there was a possibilty I would not be able to have kids.

I started taking the birth control to bring on a period. It did what it was supposed to do, but I was super depressed, crying a lot for no reason, and just felt horrible. I finally made the decision to stop taking birth control because I felt so awful, but I had no idea what to do for an alternative.

I went for serveral years jumping from doctor to doctor. I had doctors that told me that I would need to stay on birth control forever and at the same time I had doctors tell me that it's not a big deal that I'm irregular. I didn't know what to believe, but I knew without birth control my periods were horrible and heavy when they would come. So I found Ortho-tricyclen low to work the best for me.

In 2006 I had moved to Ohio for schooling and had to go to another dr. I went to a dr. that was able to tell me more about PCOS and I felt more knowledgeable, but I still felt confused. There is so much out there, but nothing has been researched. This doctor kept me on birth control and that seemed to be the only solution anyone could figure out.

After coming back to ND I found a dr. who actually had PCOS and I thought I'd finally found the place that would work. She explained that there are two typed of hormones that should be looked for in the blood FSH and LH. Your FSH should be higher than your LH, but in PCOS the these hormone levels are reversed. Also, the hormone receptros for estrogen are the same as those for insulin which is what causes insulin resistance in women with PCOS. She put me on the birth control Yaz telling me that this was the best birth control for those with PCOS and she also put me on 500 mg of Metformin.

I was 6 months from getting married when I had met with this doctor and I'm very lucky my husband decided to still marry me. The Yaz birth control made me crazy. I went from one mood to another in a matter of seconds. It was making me seriously depressed to the point where my fiance thought I was going to commit suicide. I had called the dr to ask if there was an alternative and she said stick it out for awhile to see if the moods subside. They never did and then I sat and watched commercials for law offices advertising that Yaz was found to have several severe side effects. I couldn't take it anymore and finally was switched to another birth control called Azurin. I was still up and down, but not as much and the metformin continued to make me sick to my stomach. Was this really the life I wanted to lead for the next 50 years? There had to be a better answer and I soon found what that was....